Friday, June 01, 2012

Weekend Reading from Allan

Principals need to be on the same page!

Weekend Readings
By Allan Alach

Another week, more educational madness in New Zealand, as the current government races down the ‘us too’ track being followed by other equally ignorant governments. This time the government has decided that the best way to ‘raise achievement’ and to ‘improve delivery of the curriculum’ is to increase class sizes and to spend the money saved on improving ‘teacher effectiveness’ whatever that means. However, since the government didn’t do their homework, this decision has rebounded on them, and succeeded in bringing parents alongside teachers in the fight to overturn this. This is a very significant development in the battle against the education agenda.

I hope you find some articles of interest here. As the main thrust of the education agenda emanates in the USA, this means the majority of articles will also come from the USA. However experience has shown that issues raised in the USA turn up elsewhere before too long.
I welcome suggested articles for this, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at
This week’s homework!
Here’s a blog article that summarises (to the best of the author’s recollection) all the anti-education decisions made by the current New Zealand government, since they took office in late 2008. Spot the similarities with overseas? Alternately, spot things that have not yet happened in other countries, and wait for them to be implemented.
Yong Zhao is currently Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, College of Education at the University of Oregon. He is an articulate and active campaigner against the education agenda in the United States, and has much to offer to educators in other countries as well. He is well worth following on Twitter and FaceBook. In this article he discusses his forthcoming book.
Very active US anti-test campaigner Diane Ravitch on Campbell's Law - very relevant to the anti-national standards debate, as it explains why high standards tests, etc etc won’t work. Diane has special credibility as she has had a change of heart from a couple of decades ago when she assisted with the implementation of testing programmes in the USA.
A very disturbing development in USA (and which will probably arrive in Australia and New Zealand in due course, as these things do) is the development of standards for early childhood. No exaggeration - that is happening in some states. Here’s an article outlining how this is hurting early childhood education, and therefore hurting children.
A New Zealand teacher rants about class size, following the decision to increase these to improve teacher effectiveness and so raise achievement. Yes, that’s the justification.
Here’s an article contributed by Ken Woolford and Suesette Adams in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
“Hi -got your link from Treehorn - was sent this article by one of the homeschoolers we (my wife and I - registered teachers in Qld) work with. The 20+ families we work with walked away from Naplan long ago - despite statements from the Home Education Unit in Qld that Naplan is mandatory! They just ignored the authorities” 

Why an innovative educator cares about homeschooling/ unschooling and why you might to.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant readings Allan, many thanks indeed.
I'm not so sure about putting Mark Zuckerberg up on pedestal as someone to strive towards, but the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity I agree with.
Cheers, Struan

Bruce said...

The other day a principal asked me where do all these ideas the government is pushing on schools come from? A read of Allan' links provides the answers. Busy principals need people like Allan.

Thanks for the comment Struan.